Irvine, Ca. Suzanne Broughton, mother of two, survived a day alone in her Irvine home without her family. "I'm not going to lie, I was pretty confused and scared at first when I realized there wasn't anyone in the house," said Broughton in a phone interview. "I kept hearing this weird noise that was freaking me out, but then I realized, it was just silence."
"A mom who suddenly finds herself home alone can get disoriented easily," said Dr. Warren Turkle, an Orange County doctor who specializes in modern parenting issues like Chuckephobia (fear of going to Chuck-e-Cheese) and OCTEID (the need for a mom to compulsively talk in lengthy detail about their child's reoccurring ear infections).
"It's best if a mom can wean herself slowly from the raucous atmosphere she is used to by replicating the noise with Sponge Bob on in the background or giving the cat the dog's bone in order to emulate sibling bickering." These are just a few tips in his book, "The Pottery Barn Kids Catalog Mystique: Parenting is about more than heirloom quality quilts and color coordinated storage baskets. "Moms simply need to affirm themselves by saying things like 'I used to be an attorney, I'm certainly capable of spending the afternoon by myself.'"
In a press conference yesterday, Suzanne's husband, Larry Broughton, who was initially regarded as a sort of "local hero" by Suzanne's friends after offering to take the kids for the day, was on the defensive as accusations of insensitivity started to circulate,"Listen, Suzanne was mostly able to function before she had kids and I had every confidence she would be just fine by herself for one day," Mr. Broughton said to a smattering of reporters. "I even thought she might be able to get some stuff done around the house while I was gone." At that, an audible gasp was heard from the female journalists in the crowd.
Though local officials didn't return our calls for a comment on the legality of leaving a mom home alone for an entire day, there was a statement from the guard at the Broughtons' community gate. "I don't know. I don't think I like it," said Kerby Williams as he wrote down the license plate of an AT&T truck. "What next? Walking alone through the community or worse, OUT of the community? I just don't like it," shaking his head as he turned away an unauthorized bus full of school children.
When asked how she filled the time when she was alone, Mrs. Broughton admitted she had lots of plans--like sorting the orphan sock basket, getting the family's taxes together, organizing her photos on iPhoto--but, she said with a spark of energy, she ended up taking a nap, looking-up old friends on Facebook, and then watching 10 shows that had accumulated the last two years on her DVR. "It was one of the best days of my life," she said, obviously emotional when thinking back on the day.
Written for my blog at the ever-awesome: OC Family.
Did you see this story in the Orange County Register? Sex Offender May Have Victimized More Children. This is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night. This is the sort of thing that makes me second guess every little decision I make with my kids, especially when it comes to their safety. It doesn't ease my mind either to think this guy is out on bail!
A man molests a little boy in a bathroom at The Block in Orange.
I wouldn't be surprised if the mom was even standing just outside the door. I can't even imagine how she must feel now (and kudos to her for reporting it to police). Since I have a boy I've talked to a lot of moms about this issue: At what age should we let our young boys go into public restrooms alone?
If you have a boy who's 5 years old or up you know, you sometimes get those stares from women when you bring them into the women's room. Or you get a comment from someone that's of the "cut the apron strings already" vibe and sometimes it would just be more convenient to send him in on his own. My son's already begging me to go into the "boys room" because he's getting embarrassed. But, honestly, I'm just not willing to risk it with my six-year-old no matter the push back. He always goes with me into the women's room or with his dad into the men's--but until what age?
What age is it inappropriate to bring a boy into the women's room? Does it depend on the circumstances or maturity of the boy? Is there no magic number? Man, I really hate that we have to worry about these things, but we do. If nothing else, I just wanted to make you aware this happened in OC and to remind us all to be careful with our kids.
This is my column in this month's OC Family out today.
I always wonder how other couples’ relationships work--what they talk about, if they brush their teeth side-by-side in the mirror every morning, how they decide on big-ticket items. It's the little things couples do in public that make me stare and stand too close, trying to eavesdrop on their conversations.
Like at Trader Joe's the other day, a couple was standing in front of the boxed fruit. The man was holding a box of Asian Pears and the woman was diligently trying to pry the perfectly square plastic box open (despite the galvanized tape) in order to...touch them, I guess. Calmly, the man used his long (freakishly, btw) index finger to lift the side so she could...yes, yes, she wanted to touch them and when she did, she immediately shook her head and waved them away.
He picked up another box and they began another hushed and passionate conversation about--Asian Pears. I tried to hear what they were saying, pretending I cared deeply about the Clementines sitting next to the pears. But they were enormously secretive and careful not to let the rest of us know what was so flippin' interesting about--Asian Pears.
Naturally, this made me think about my husband Larry and me. I can't even imagine having a conversation that long about pears. I remember once having a pretty lengthy conversation about how much we loved cheese, but it was more because we were hungry. We started asking each other outrageous questions like, “If you could make a deal that you never could eat cheese again, but you would then be able to fly, would you?” Seriously, who would make that deal? Like, nobody, but that's the kind of thing Larry and I talk about.
So you can understand my fascination with this couple at Trader Joe's. Larry and I had lots of conversations about them. Asian Pears just seems like a very particular and much more sophisticated thing to talk about than cheese. I mean, we would have flown by those pears at breakneck speed and thrown them in our cart (period). No discussion.
It made me wonder if we’re missing out on something. Don't things like this make you speculate about how different other people’s lives are? Are they happier? Their kids more intelligent? I see couples on weekend mornings who’ve obviously been out with their baby joggers, sipping their lattes, the Times in hand, and I think, "Huh, are we the only ones who wave our children away on weekend mornings, muttering from under our pillows about cartoons and directing them to the special 'Saturday' cereal?"
I guess it comes down to perspective--appreciating who I am and what I value. Being able to say to myself, "We're a couple who sleeps in and gives our children sugary cereal on Saturdays." And, I suppose, accepting that Larry and I are the type of couple that talks about the couple who talks about the Asian Pears…and being okay with that. Which I most certainly am.
To celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary my husband arranged for us to have lunch at the exclusive Club 33 inside Disneyland. We aren't members ourselves, but Larry was able to make reservations through his hospitality pipeline. He knew I have always wanted to go and so on November 1st we headed down to Disneyland to eat at one of the most sought-after tables in the world--one by the window at Club 33.
Not only was I excited about visiting a location inside Disneyland that few people have been before, but the idea of being in a place that was so intimately inspired by Walt Disney himself had me bursting with anticipation...like waiting outside the door an hour before our reservation, that kind of anticipation.
The door that leads to Club 33 is so innocuous the casual visitor would walk right by it. A simple plaque that reads "33" is the only indication you have arrived and at right location in New Orleans Square. Larry, who is very clever, found the brass intercom on the door frame and after pressing the buzzer, we were let in after giving the name of the reservation.
It's the only way in.
It's all very Maxwell Smart.
The moment you walk inside the Club the mood, atmosphere and energy is markedly different than being inside the park--like jumping from a jacuzzi into an icy cool pool--you've entered another world. Mahogany, crimson and soft music replace Mickey Mouse t-shirts, plastic beads and the crush of the crowds. It was still Disneyland, still had the vibe, but felt closer to the heart of it.
We choose to take the famous lift up to second floor and then we were escorted to the dining room. Through the hallway our host pointed out special mementos and art found only at Club 33.
I think this was my favorite part, seeing the photos and artwork only found there. I also got a braggart thrill looking out over Disneyland through the window of Club 33. I'll admit it, I felt special.
The staff helped deepen my elitist vibe with the way they scurried around the surprisingly small dining room, refilling waters, checking in on our meals and basically pampering every guest big and small.
They made a big deal of our anniversary, with everyone wishing us a happy anniversary, giving us a special pin with 13th written across it and then serving up this special dessert.
So after a starter buffet, our main course meal and then the dessert buffet (which I need to call out the lemon eclair as a new sweet favorite) we had this adorable plate to finish off our experience. I don't know if we'll ever be able to snag reservations again, but I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to dine there for our anniversary.
If you want to see my full photo slideshow, please click here.
For the lowdown on Club 33 watch this segment from the Food Network Show "Unwrapped." It's from a show called "Disney Delights" and it features Disneyland's Director of Food and Beverage (who has since become Director- Food and Beverage of Disneyland Resort, Tokyo), Gary Maggetti touring Club 33.